Two MPs accused of receiving illegal political funding23.10.2009, 10:32
Äripäev has obtained documents claiming that two Refrom Party politicians have received illegal political funding.
The case concerns election campaings in spring 2007 that a small Pärnu-based advertising agency Droom carried out for two Reform Party MPs Jaanus Rahumägi and Robert Antropov.
Both Rahumägi and Antropov claim they are victims of extortion and say that the bills made by Droom for its services were hugely inflated.
Rahumägi is head of parliamentary commitee that supervises the activities of the security police while Antropov is former police commissioner, former minister of internal affairs and current member of the parliamentary legal committee.
Although both politicians claim that Droom's claims are extortion, Rahumägi agreed to pay Droom 600,000 kroons in July 2008 in exchange of the promise that no more claims are made and the dispute is not made public.
Droom's CEO Heiki Penu said that the agency was forced to file for bankruptcy since although Rahumägi paid the amount, Antropov has refused to pay his bill until this day.
Äripäev has four large dossiers with campaign reports, invoices, correspondence with campaign team and photos.
Although the Reform Party won the elections, the two MPs refused to pay thier bills to the advertsing agency which then seeked legal assistance.
Various sources have told Äripäev that Rahumägi may have decided at the end to pay the bill to avoid publishing infromation about illegal political funding of Reform Party by businesses.
According to informed sources, the simple but clever scheme is for a politician to hire an advertisign agency and then have companies that secretly finance his campaign to sign an advertising contract with the agency. Some of the funds paid by the companies to the agency would then be used to cover the campaign costs.